Opinion by KCE Editor, Kevin Mathewson
Monday morning, the Village of Salem Lakes released the last three years of letters of resignation from its Fire Department pursuant to Judge Schroeder’s order. Here is what we learned.
The Village’s Fire Department lost 33 firefighters/EMTs/paramedics in the last three years. Almost 1 per month. This cannot be seen as anything short of terrible leadership in the department. Terrible leadership that has long gone overlooked and ignored by the Village Board. The Fire Chief needs to go, and so does the village board (Most of it).
Village administrator Mike Murdock likely lied under oath. I deposed Mike Murdock during this lawsuit. I asked him several times how many firefighters left the Village in the last three years. After all, Murdock was the second in charge for years at the fire department. He held both roles until KCE started investigating the village and resigned this past December. He told us between two and five. Either he is extremely incompetent, or he lied under oath to protect the incumbents. Either way, he needs to go.
Village of Salem Lakes Attorney Richard Scholze isn’t a good attorney. For a guy without a college degree, I was sure able to outlawyer this guy who became an attorney in 1988 when I was four years old. Either, he was incompetent at such a simple matter of law, or he deliberately misapplied the law to protect his clients. Either way, he needs to go.
The Village of Salem Lakes’ leadership will spend taxpayer money to hide things they don’t want us to see. Here is a copy of the check they wrote me after my successful lawsuit. This is only a small fraction, when you compare it to the amount of money that Wanasek, Scholze, Ludwig, Ekes & Wishau SC will invoice the Village for next month. It will be between $4,000 and $6,000 according to a guess by a civil attorney.
And to wrap it up, the place where the buck stops. The Salem Lakes Village President. She admitted during her deposition that she failed the Village. “I waited too long,” she said. She did indeed. She let the bureaucrats take hold of the government in the small village and she lost control. She let the fire department attack businesses and ignored pleas for help. Now the residents have fought back, in one of the largest grass-roots efforts this county has seen, Tesar is likely to lose her job. She deserves it. She lost focus of her role. She forgot who she reports to – the taxpayers. She learned the hard way that no one stays in power forever.
The last thing we learned. The American way is still alive after all. When the government fails the people, the people have a right to replace their leaders.